Fresh Pasta / Marcella Hazan

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Joined Jan 21, 2017
When making simple egg pasta (whole eggs and flour) what proportion of eggs to flour is best?

When it comes to home-made pasta I'm a disciple of Marcella Hazan. I've been hand-rolling for years thanks to the instructions and diagrams in The Classic Italian Cookbook. However, I've just discovered there is a second volume in which she revises the proportions. Well obviously this has completely thrown me /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lookaround.gif  . Which is correct/better?

The quantities are as follows:

The Classic Italian Cookbook:                 2 eggs, 200g-260g flour (no oil)

The Second Classic Italian Cookbook:    2 eggs, 130g flour (no oil)

The first method is very dry, tough to knead, but properly kneaded provides a well structured dough which rolls out perfectly, doesn't tear and rolls out very thin. It's a perfect quantity for 2 as a main or 3-4 as a starter.

I'm so used to this method I find it difficult to work with softer dough.

Does anyone know why she revised it? Is it maybe to do with the size of the eggs? Or is method 2 better for machine rolling?

Or is it a mistake? It states that it makes 350g of finished pasta, which is a physical impossibility since the ingredients only total 250.

I would love to hear other people's thoughts on this!
 
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Joined Sep 12, 2011
Hazan's 1992 _Essentials_, p. 131 says: "Because no one can tell you in advance exactly how much flour one needs, the sensible method ... is by hand, which permits you to adjust the proportion of flour as you go along."  Her (literal) rule of thumb: "press your thumb deep into the center of the mass; if it comes out clean, without any sticky matter on it, no more flour is needed."  That's pretty much what I've always done: start with the eggs, and add flour until the dough feels right.  Plus one often ends up incorporating more flour during the rolling-out process.  

When you make pasta, where do you usually fall in the 200g - 260g range, and how big are your eggs?  What kind of flour are you using?

If anything, using a hand-cranked machine for rolling lets you use a stiffer dough, which is generally a good thing for the reasons of tractability you describe.  
 
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Joined Jan 21, 2017
Using the "original" recipe I can get 100-130g flour into each (large) egg, however her revised quantities suggest about half that- so im wondering what quantity other people use.

100g+ per egg usually provides a very stiff dough, which I handroll using a 3ft pin. I find the stiff dough makes excellent pasta. It's way past the "clean thumb" point though. I'll scale back the flour and see what happens!
 
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Joined Apr 16, 2017
In 'The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking' - the anthology consisting of both Hazan's classic books - the author writes (p.139, 1992, London: Macmillan / 2011, Boxtree):

'FOR YELLOW PASTA DOUGH

115 g / 4 oz plain, unbleached flour and 2 large eggs produce about 350 g / 12 oz homemade pasta which will yield 3 standard portions or 4 of appetiser dimensions. Use the above as an approximate ratio of flour to eggs for which you may need to alter depending on the absorption capacity of the eggs, and sometimes even on the humidity or lack of it in the kitchen.'

There is no way that this proportion can work. It is not even close to what could work and the quantities do not add up to '350 g / 12 oz'. I, therefore, presume it to be an editing error.

Courtesy of Carluccio, I tend to work on a rough multiplier guide of 100g of durum-wheat flour ('00') to one large egg - adjusting flour quantity (+/- 10%) to what the dough feels like when kneading. Whilst I agree with Hazan that no other ingredients are necessary for plain pasta, this a significant 'quantity' error in an otherwise wonderful book that will lead to failure and frustration for readers.

Larousse Gastronomique (2009, p.758) advises:

'Sift 500 g ( 18 oz, 41/2 cups) flour and make a well in the centre. Break 5 eggs into the well and then add 2 tablespoons oil and a pinch of salt.'

Good Housekeeping has a similar recipe.

I hope that this posting helps.

Regards,

Dr Brian
 
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
A quick resurrection of the thread.

I used to have the paperback edition, but it fell to bits and pieces so I got the hardcover anthology.

I tried to make pasta using, as it says, 1 cup flour and 2 eggs. I got glue! Searching online, I finally found my answer...here on ChefTalk.

Thanks, guys!
 
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The recipe for green pasta is 1.5cups flour, 2 eggs, and 1/2# cooked spinach. Before I try and fail horribly, does that sound right to you people?
 
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Slightly off-topic
Marcella Hazan's cookbook is on sale today (the kindle version) at amazon.co.uk
 

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